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Article: Review | AURALiC ARIES G2.1


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Hi Chris,

 

Thanks for the great review.  I was expecting a $20K price tag at the end, but at "only" $5K this may be the solution I've been looking for to add streaming to my system.  I currently use a Naim Uniti Core for 100% of my listening--it is a purpose built CD ripper and server, local only.  I've tried streaming a couple of times, but on my primary system, Qobuz cannot match local files for the last little shimmer.  Did you compare Qobuz to local files on the Aurilic for sound quality?  Could you tell the difference?

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Very glowing review.   I just don't get the copper em shield and springs in the feet features.   To me that is a distraction.   

Mac Mini 2007: 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo, 3 Gig RAM, 500 Gig 5400 RPM HD[br]OSX 10.6.6, TimeMachine Off, Airport Off, Dedicated to Music[br]HAGUSB USB-->S/PDIF[br]Players: Audirvana, ITunes[br]Music Library: RedBook 16/44 WAV[br]Bryston BP26DA Preamp/DAC[br]Bryston 3BSST Amp[br]B&W 804s Loudspeakers[br]

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2 hours ago, PeterG said:

Hi Chris,

 

Thanks for the great review.  I was expecting a $20K price tag at the end, but at "only" $5K this may be the solution I've been looking for to add streaming to my system.  I currently use a Naim Uniti Core for 100% of my listening--it is a purpose built CD ripper and server, local only.  I've tried streaming a couple of times, but on my primary system, Qobuz cannot match local files for the last little shimmer.  Did you compare Qobuz to local files on the Aurilic for sound quality?  Could you tell the difference?

I didn't do a direct comparison of local versus streaming. That's kind of a crapshoot. I stored all my content not available for streaming locally and streamed the rest while using the ARIES. Overall it's a fantastic system. 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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6 hours ago, McNulty said:

A review without sonic comparisons to functionally similar products is no review IMO. 

I also like comparisons, but it isn't Chris' style. There are reviewers who compare and others who don't. It's a philosophical difference in how to approach reviewing.  I don't think you'll find what you are looking for in Chris' reviews. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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7 hours ago, bbosler said:

I read the review, but to be honest, not being familiar at all with Aurilic, I was almost done before it started to become clear what  type of device I was reading about.  I saw it is a "streaming Transporter" on the front of it in the picture but that could mean different things, and googling the term it appears to be something that is used only by Aurilic because all the hits I got were for Aurilic.. .. It  was many paragraphs in before I ran across "Many DACs have somewhat similar capabilities" so I then knew it was a DAC, until I realized later on it is not a DAC after looking at the picture of the back panel.  Then you said it would make a great centerpiece for my system, but I still had no idea what it was. 

 

maybe I'm the only one, but for these types of devices I find it extremely helpful if there is a list of features, and early on in the review a statement about what it is/does. If I may be so bold as to offer a suggestion, not all of your readers are as consumed with this stuff as you are so maybe you could dumb it down a bit , or at least offer some idea of the function of the device in the introduction , for those of use who aren't so well informed.. or a sidebar with functions. 

 

thanks

 

 I'm familiar with the products, but I agree that if you weren't it wouldn't have been clear if the device is just a transport or also includes a DAC. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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3 hours ago, 57gold said:

Am not the sharpest knife in the CA drawer, but not sure what this product does? What and why will it make music sound better?

Essentially, it's a network bridge like the Sonore Rendu series or the dCS bridge. The difference is that it has a lot of added functionality: the Auralic Lightning DS UI, multiple inputs, DSP - upsampling, ability to add storage, and a screen. You could use one of these and not need a separate server or outside UI software.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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I wonder if Auralic will, or see the need of, adding fiber interface in next version. Or if an optical module or the EtherRegen upfront will make any difference.

It would be interesting to know if an upgrade from an opticalRendu to Auralic, dCS, Aqua LinQ, and similar network transports will make a change.

I suppose this answer will depend on what DAC in use. 

 

 

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I also like comparisons. What would be particularly interesting to me would be a reference streamer or CD Transport that tested streamers could be compared with, i.e. a constant benchmark. 

 

Vibration control is a very interesting feature and sadly neglected in many otherwise fine components. I am using a Cambridge Audio isolation platform and thin sorbothane discs under my exaSound DAC and streamer, a highly worthwhile solution. I just ordered an IsoAcoustics zaZen for the exaSound gear. The Cambridge will go back to isolating my CD transport, where it belongs.

“The best sounding audio product is the one that exhibits the least audible flaws.”

 Dr. Floyd Toole

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On 12/4/2020 at 7:30 AM, firedog said:

I also like comparisons, but it isn't Chris' style. There are reviewers who compare and others who don't. It's a philosophical difference in how to approach reviewing.  I don't think you'll find what you are looking for in Chris' reviews. 

Chris's reviews are great--he's one of the best.  But they would be even better with more comparisons.  Also, many of his reviews do include comparisons--RAAL requisite, Klipsch Three, Schiit Yggdrasil come to mind quickly.

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3 hours ago, R1200CL said:

I think you just got that in this review 😀

 

 

Sure, the G2.1 would work as a reference, i.e. something to compare others to. 

“The best sounding audio product is the one that exhibits the least audible flaws.”

 Dr. Floyd Toole

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On 12/5/2020 at 8:36 AM, audiobomber said:

also like comparisons. What would be particularly interesting to me would be a reference streamer or CD Transport that tested streamers could be compared with, i.e. a constant benchmark. 

 

well, you would think that since Chris also has a $20K + Aurender W20SE that does basically the same thing, we could get some kind of comparison along the lines of why someone would choose to spend $20K+ versus $5K for this box 

Tidal/Qobuz >> Roon >> Mac Mini >> USB >> Antelope Eclipse 384  DAC and headphone amps >> Avantgarde Duo Omega with DIY 16 foot bass horns

 

ZYX Optimum - Moerch DP8 arm - Merrill Williams >> Esoteric E-02 >>> either Antelope as above or  Placette Passive >> DIY 300B amp

 

 

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On 12/4/2020 at 12:51 AM, McNulty said:

A review without sonic comparisons to functionally similar products is no review IMO. 

 

It's an awkward situation for publishers.  Comparative reviews always have losers....meaning unhappy sponsors and advertisers.  It's a commercial predicament all reviewers face - Chris is no different.  One common practice is that some reviewers compare products with outlier brands, often products that would not realistically be main competitor(s) for the tested product.  It's a facade, but it at least gives some kind of reference point. Another one is to basically rank all the products in more or less in the same order as their prices - we can call this the "everyone wins" review. 

 

Obviously anyone reading this review would dearly appreciate an honest and qualified assessment of how it compares with other favorites - such as the Innuous Mk3 Statement or Sonore Signature, to name but two. Sadly this remains an elephant in the room. My take-away is that we're meant to use some kind of triangulation process to discover how this product really ranks, compared with similarly targeted products.

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> AQCinnamon --> microRendu 1.4 / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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There is no comparison that would satisfy the majority of people. All the products mentioned so far are different from the ARIES with respect to feature set. Thus, a comparison is quite strange. 
 

In addition, if this was consumer reports and we purchased all the products, we’d have all the freedoms we want. However, we request review samples. We don’t ask manufacturers to supply components for us to use indefinitely and compare to everything that comes in. Who wants their product to live at a writer’s house for purposes of comparison with unknown future products that may or may not be even similar products? No manufacturers that I know, even if the products are the best. 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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On 12/5/2020 at 1:13 AM, firedog said:

Essentially, it's a network bridge like the Sonore Rendu series or the dCS bridge. The difference is that it has a lot of added functionality: the Auralic Lightning DS UI, multiple inputs, DSP - upsampling, ability to add storage, and a screen. You could use one of these and not need a separate server or outside UI software.

I thought and still think, perhaps incorrectly, that it's a transporter, more SCG's sonic transporter with ripper, not Sonore's Rendus. Chris, you have to appreciate that your readers have built fairly sophisticated digital systems and within the group different people think this product is different things. I think it's pretty funny.

Main: sonicTransporter I5>etherRegen>opticalRendu/ghent/UltraCap 1.2> WireWorld Platinum>YGGY Atma-sphere MP-1 3.1> Hegel 30> Maggie 1.7, REL SE 212: Zero Autoformers, Interconnects , Analysis Plus Silver Oval-In, Nordost Heimdall, Power Cables: Synergistic./Shunyata>Chang Litespeed 

HT:Dish>OPPO>Marantz>Hegel> 3-Maggies/2-Quads>REL Gibraltar>Custom Wire loom>APS>Samsung Plasma 55"

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